Kamala Harris on Wednesday debuted a new line of attack against President Donald Trump, saying that her background as a prosecutor made her uniquely suited to take on “a predator” like the president.
At an Iowa event, during a riff on Trump’s trade and health care policies and his handling of the surge of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful ripped the president for betraying the American people.
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“I’m prepared to prosecute the case. And I’m going to tell you in terms of my background,” the California senator said, rattling off a list of groups she prosecuted in her more than two decades in law enforcement in California.
“I know predators, and we have a predator living in the White House,” she continued, earning raucous applause from the crowd. “And let me tell you, there’s a little secret about predators. Donald Trump has predatory nature and predatory instincts.”
The sharper rhetoric comes as Harris seeks to capitalize on a surge in polling since her commanding performance during last week’s Democratic debates. In particular, Harris dominated former Vice President Joe Biden in a bruising exchange over Biden’s civil rights record.
Harris performed well enough to catch Trump’s eye as he attended the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, where he downplayed her performance. Harris’ strong showing also caught the ire of conservatives who sought to cast doubt on whether Harris is “black enough” to speak with authority on matters of race, prompting her Democratic rivals to race to her defense.
The California senator indicated Wednesday that she isn’t ruffled by the incoming fire, implicitly labeling the president a “coward” who is merely preying on the weak.
“And so when we look at this campaign, and we look at the task before us, it will be to successfully prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump, and I am prepared to do that,” she said.
A handful of polls have shown Harris gaining ground in the crowded Democratic primary field since last week’s first round of debates. In at least one poll, Harris has leapfrogged into second place behind Biden. While it’s still extremely early in the primary, her debate bounce signals an ascent into the top tier of candidates heading into this month’s second round of debates.